Do You Know How to Get Verified Reviews?

This blog was originally published on Amazon’s Author Insights Blog.
You can read it 

Every author wants reviews for his/her book, and the more reviews the better! Finding readers for your book might seem like a big hill to climb, and perhaps impossible to get them to read the book and take the extra step to review it.

Let me start by reassuring you that you don’t need hundreds of reviews at the beginning. Just ten honest reviews, left by your avatars (also known as your ideal readers) will help set the wheels in motion of getting even more readers and eventually, more reviews.

The power of reviews

Reviews provide third-party validation and give prospective readers insight about the content of your book. Is it what they want to read? Will it solve their problem, provide a path to happiness, or entertain them in the way they most enjoy? Reviews tell the story about your story and encourage people to “buy now” because your book is just what they are looking for.

The initial goal is to have as many positive reviews that are verified (verified reviews are reviews left by people who have purchased the book on Amazon) as possible. Verified reviews hold more weight with prospective readers because they leave no doubt the book was purchased. The assumption is verified reviews are more honest than perhaps a free book in exchange for a review.

Avoid using friends and relatives to review your book if they aren’t your ideal reader. When they don’t fit the profile, they can skew the data and confuse Amazon’s algorithms about to whom they should show the book.

Over time, you will want to have a constant stream of new reviews for your book. Even a couple of reviews a week over a year’s time will equal more than 100 reviews (and 100 reviews is simply awesome).

It’s easy to get started

The moment you decide to write your book, define your avatar. What are the qualities and characteristics of the person who will love your book? For non-fiction, you can include age, gender, occupation, education, and of course, the other books they love that are similar to your book. For fiction, identify age, gender, and the other books in your genre they like.

Next, identify ten or more people who fit your avatar’s profile. When they buy, read, and review your book on Amazon, the book will be shown to other prospective readers who might like your book.

While you’re in the process of writing your book, keep your future readers apprised of your book’s progress. You can send the occasional email and make a post on social media. You can search for the most popular books in your genre, those like your book, and reach out to the reviewers of those books to see if they’d like to read yours.

Keep in mind that marketing your book is a constant and never-ending process.

Your readers will love to help you

The best way to get reviews is to ask. Keep in mind you’re asking people to use their most precious resource: their time. When your book is finished, let them know the book is available and ask them to buy and read it. Plan to be patient and send the occasional friendly reminder.

At some point, something amazing is going to happen! You’re going to get an “I loved your book!” email from a fan. Of course, you’re going to answer that email (because fans love to get emails from their favorite authors, almost as much as the authors like getting them) and ask them if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review. You’ll be surprised how often they say “Sure!” and leave a great review right away.

Take advantage of Amazon’s promotional opportunities

Amazon has the terrific KDP Select Program, which allows you to either run free book promotion days or Kindle Countdown Deals. If you give away thousands of books, you are highly likely to receive many honest reviews for your book. Selling books at a discount will provide the same result.

You can run multiple promotions until you’ve used your allotment of seven days total. Run a two-day free promotion, and you can run another that is five days, because we are allowed seven. Keep in mind you are unable to run one free and one Countdown in the same 90-day period.

The myth of the 1-star review

Reviews classified as “bad,” 1- or 2-star reviews fall in this category, actually validate your book. Let me explain! A book that only has 4- or 5-star reviews can be looked upon with suspicion. While they might all be above-board, honest, and verified reviews, most people don’t believe any book is perfect or nearly perfect. I don’t fear a negative review, because I know they not only validate the book but they are also seen for their true value.

Sometimes, a negative reviewer does have a point. While negative feedback doesn’t feel good, there are instances you can use a reader’s comment to make your book better. I suggest you note the review but never answer or respond to it.

Reviews, verified or not, are going to help you sell more books. With a steady focus on obtaining them, soon you’ll have great ones that help other readers find and love your book.

More Good Stuff…

Your prosperity begins and ends with what you think, say, and do–or in this case what you do, read, and listen to, so try these on for size:

~Prosperous Marketing: Build Book Buzz offers free book promotion resources to jumpstart your marketing campaign.

~Prosperous Reading: What Makes a 100K Author? 8 Findings Every Author Should Know by Written Word Media

~Prosperous Listening: Is Writing Daily a Necessity? Check out the I Should Be Writing podcast!



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